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A typical conventional CDI system is now described with reference to FIG. 1. An application specific device (ASD) 1.1 charges ignition capacitor 1.2 by supplying a rectified high DC voltage thereto, which is generated from the high voltage AC provided by supply coil 1.3. A magnetic pick-up 1.4 monitors piston position and supplies a triggering signal to the ASD 1.1 after suitable signal conditioning by a conditioning circuit 1.5. This triggering signal causes the ASD 1.1 to discharge the ignition capacitor 1.2 through the primary winding of the ignition transformer 1.6 causing an ignition spark across spark plug 1.7 with a typical ignition current profile 1.8.
A ROM 2.8 stores ignition profile data used by the microcontroller 2.7 to generate signals for controlling the power converter 2.4. This is done in relation to the speed/position signal received from the sensor 2.9 which is mounted on the crankshaft 2.10, after signal conditioning by the signal conditioning circuit 2.6. The power converter 2.4 charges and discharges the ignition capacitor 2.11 through the primary winding of the ignition coil 2.9 under the control of the microcontroller 2.7. The power converter 2.4 is such that ignition current is produced during both the charging and discharging of the ignition capacitor 2.11, resulting in a continuous spark of any desired duration.
The power converter topology in accordance with the present invention that is used for generating sparks of prolonged duration is now further descried with respect to FIG. 4. The ignition circuit includes an ignition capacitor 4.1 connected in series with the primary winding of ignition coil 4.2. The other terminal of the capacitor 4.1 is connected to the mid-point of a series combination of two controllable power electronic switches, namely switches 4.3 (S+) and 4.4 (S−) realized by two IGBTs. However, it will be appreciated that MOSFETs/BJTs may also be used, for example.